An official of the United States of America has warned that Boko Haram is planning to launch attacks on Maiduguri following the fall of Bama, Borno state second largest city.
“We are very troubled by the apparent capture of Bama
and the prospects for an attack on and in Maiduguri, which would impose a tremendous toll on the civilian population,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.
P.M NEWS reports that the US diplomat spoke at the opening session of US-Nigeria, Bi-National Commission Regional Security Working Group meeting, held in Abuja, Nigerian capital on Thursday, 4 September, 2014.
According to Thomas-Greenfield, Nigeria should swallow its pride and do away with denials and acknowledge the threats posed by the deadly sect.
“This is a sober reality check for us all. We are past time for denial and pride,” she said.
The American diplomat said despite collective efforts by Nigeria and its allies, the situation on the ground is worsening, adding that, ‘hundreds of thousands, if not millions’ of people in the Lake Chad region have been affected’.
Thomas-Greenfield stated that the attacks have gone beyond Nigeria and Cameroun. “The Chibok girls and others remain hostages, enduring horrible and tragic suffering,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
She said the announcement by Abubakar Shekau, the sect ruthless leader, that he is now governing a caliphate in the northeast only adds to the perception that security is ‘steadily worsening’.
To reverse the trend, she said, the United States is close to announcing the launch of a major border security programme under its Global Security Contingency Fund, which will include Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger.
She said the American government will continue to provide technical training to soldiers and policemen engaged in the fight against Boko Haram.
“As an important part of this training, we are pleased to provide advanced training to the Nigerian infantry battalion.”
However well trained the security agents are, Thomas-Greenfield said, Nigerians should realise that no conversation on security can be complete without addressing issues of accountability.
“Whether we are talking about election security or counter-insurgency,” she explained.
Thomas-Greenfield said the United States would continue to support Nigeria and its security services as long as they fulfil their responsibilities with “restraint and impartiality”.
The Boko Haram group has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in northern Nigeria since 2009 when it began its current insurgency across the country.
No fewer than 5, 000 people have lost their lives and over half a million others have been displaced through terror attacks carried out by the insurgents.